Mating Indian porcupines Hystrix indica, photographed by Claudia and Mario Kuster.

Belongs within: Hystricomorpha.
Contains: Phiomorpha, Caviomorpha.

The Hystricognathiformes are a group of rodents, including the living Hystricognathi and fossil relatives, distinguished from other living rodents by their jaw structure. Three major lineages of modern hystricognaths are generally accepted: the Hystricidae (Old World porcupines), the Phiomorpha (an African clade) and the Caviomorpha (South American rodents). However, relationships between the three clades remain uncertain. It is also currently unclear whether the ancestors of the caviomorphs reached South America by rafting across the Atlantic from Africa, or whether they travelled to the Americas from Asia (Poux et al. 2006). Fossil taxa that have been allied with the hystricognaths include the Eocene squirrel-like Cylindrodon of western North America, and the Oligocene Tsaganomys altaicus of Mongolia. The latter species has long procumbent incisors like those of modern mole-rats, and like them may have used its incisors for digging (Meng et al. 2003). The Baluchimyinae are from the Palaeogene of Asia have been found by phylogenetic analysis to be paraphyletic to crown hystricognaths (Sallam et al. 2009).

The Hystricidae, Old World porcupines, are large terrestrial rodents found in southern Eurasia and Africa, characterised by the presence of long, often banded quills that are borne in clusters (as opposed to the single spines of the New World porcupines, Erethizontidae). The majority of species are placed in the genus Hystrix, including large porcupines that often have a long crest of spines running along the top of the head.

Synapomorphies (from Meng et al. 2003): P4 with strong anterior and posterior ridges lacking a cusp; precingulum confluent with protocone to form a strong loph; entoconid of lower molar posteriorly shifted. Mandible with angular process originating lateral to incisor alveolus; nasolacrimal duct medial to incisor. Orbital wing absent from palatine; orbital process of alisphenoid greatly reducted; alisphenoid contacting frontal.

<==Hystricognathiformes MHL03
    |--+--Cylindrodon MHL03 [Cylindrodontidae J88]
    |  `--Tsaganomys [Tsaganomyidae] MHL03
    |       `--T. altaicus MHL03
    `--Baluchimyinae SS09
         |  i. s.: Downsimys J88
         |--Baluchimys SS09
         |    |--B. krabiense SS09
         |    `--+--B. ganeshapher SS09
         |       `--Lindsaya derabugtiensis SS09
         `--+--+--Sacaresia moyaeponsi SS09
            |  `--+--Ottomania proavita SS09
            |     `--Confiniummys sidiki SS09
            `--+--+--Lophibaluchia SS09
               |  `--+--Hodsahibia SS09
               |     `--Bugtimys zafarullahi SS09
               `--+--Protophiomys Jaeger et al. 1985 SS09
                  |    |--*P. algeriensis Jaeger et al. 1985 SS09
                  |    `--P. aegyptensis Sallam, Seiffert et al. 2009 SS09
                  |--+--‘Phiomys’ lavocati Wood 1968 SS09, W68
                  |  `--Myophiomyidae L78
                  |       |--Myophiomys arambourgi L78
                  |       |--Elmerimys woodi L78
                  |       |--Phiomyoides humilis L78
                  |       `--Phiocricetomys Wood 1968 SS09, W68
                  |            `--*P. minutus Wood 1968 W68
                  `--+--Waslamys Sallam, Seiffert et al. 2009 SS09
                     |    `--*W. attiai Sallam, Seiffert et al. 2009 SS09
                     `--Hystricognathi SS09
                          |  i. s.: Prolapsus J88 [Franimorpha OB13]
                          |         Sivacanthion Colbert 1933 D07
                          |           `--S. complicatus D07
                          |--+--Phiomorpha SS09
                          |  `--Caviomorpha SS09
                          `--+--Gaudeamus Wood 1968 SS09, W68
                             |    `--*G. aegyptius Wood 1968 W68
                             `--Hystricidae [Hystricoidea] SS09
                                  |  i. s.: Xenohystrix crassidens L78
                                  |         Oedocephalus Gray 1866 G66
                                  |           `--*O. cuvieri (Gray 1847) [=Acanthion cuvieri, Hystrix cuvieri] G66
                                  |         Acanthochoerus Gray 1866 G66
                                  |           |--A. bartlettii Gray 1866 G66
                                  |           `--A. grotei Gray 1866 G66
                                  |         Acanthion G66
                                  |           |--A. flemingii Gray 1847 G66
                                  |           `--A. hodgsonii (Gray 1847) (see below for synonymy) G66
                                  |--Trichys fasciculata FS15
                                  `--+--Atherurus FS15
                                     |    |--A. africanus IT07
                                     |    `--A. macrourus (Linnaeus 1758) FS15, L58 [=Hystrix macroura ANG03]
                                     `--Hystrix Linnaeus 1758 FS15, P04 [Hystricinae]
                                          |  i. s.: H. depereti SS09
                                          |         H. gansuensis DW04
                                          |         H. leucurus Sykes 1831 G66
                                          |         H. major L78
                                          |         H. malabarica G66
                                          |         H. prehensilis Linnaeus 1758 L58
                                          |         H. primigenia Wagner 1848 P04
                                          |--+--H. cristata Linnaeus 1758 FS15, L58 [incl. H. hirsutirostris G66]
                                          |  `--+--H. africaeaustralis Peters 1852 FS15, G66
                                          |     `--H. indica FS15
                                          `--+--+--H. brachyura Linnaeus 1758 FS15, L58
                                             |  `--H. javanica FS15 (see below for synonymy)
                                             `--+--H. crassispinis FS15
                                                |--H. kiangsenensis FS15
                                                |--H. pumila FS15
                                                |--H. refossa FS15
                                                `--H. sumatrae FS15

Acanthion hodgsonii Gray 1847 [=Hystrix hodgsonii; incl. H. alophus Hodgson 1847, H. daubentonii, H. nepalensis] G66

Hystrix javanica FS15 [=Acanthion javanicum G66; incl. H. brevispinosus G66]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[ANG03] Asher, R. J., M. J. Novacek & J. H. Geisler. 2003. Relationships of endemic African mammals and their fossil relatives based on morphological and molecular evidence. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 10 (1-2): 131–194.

[DW04] Deng T., Wang X., Ni X. & Liu L. 2004. Sequence of the Cenozoic mammalian faunas of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 78 (1): 8–14.

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[FS15] Faurby, S., & J.-C. Svenning. 2015. A species-level phylogeny of all extant and late Quaternary extinct mammals using a novel heuristic-hierarchical Bayesian approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 14–26.

[G66] Gray, J. E. 1866. On the species of porcupines in the gardens of the Society and in the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 306–311.

[IT07] Isaac, N. J. B., S. T. Turvey, B. Collen, C. Waterman & J. E. M. Baillie. 2007. Mammals on the EDGE: conservation priorities based on threat and phylogeny. PloS One 2 (3): e296.

[J88] Jaeger, J.-J. 1988. Rodent phylogeny: new data and old problems. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods vol. 2. Mammals pp. 177–199. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[L78] Lavocat, L. 1978. Rodentia and Lagomorpha. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 69–89. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[MHL03] Meng, J., Y. Hu & C. Li. 2003. The osteology of Rhombomylus (Mammalia, Glires): implications for phylogeny and evolution of Glires. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 275: 1–247.

[OB13] O'Leary, M. A., J. I. Bloch, J. J. Flynn, T. J. Gaudin, A. Giallombardo, N. P. Giannini, S. L. Goldberg, B. P. Kraatz, Z.-X. Luo, J. Meng, X. Ni, M. J. Novacek, F. A. Perini, Z. S. Randall, G. W. Rougier, E. J. Sargis, M. T. Silcox, N. B. Simmons, M. Spaulding, P. M. Velazco, M. Weksler, J. R. Wible & A. L. Cirranello. 2013. The placental mammal ancestor and the post-K–Pg radiation of placentals. Science 339: 662–667.

[P04] Popov, V. V. 2004. Pliocene small mammals (Mammalia, Lipotyphla, Chiroptera, Lagomorpha, Rodentia) from Muselievo (north Bulgaria). Geodiversitas 26 (3): 403–491.

Poux, C., P. Chevret, D. Huchon, W. W. de Jong & E. J. P. Douzery. 2006. Arrival and diversification of caviomorph rodents and platyrrhine primates in South America. Systematic Biology 55 (2): 228-244.

[SS09] Sallam, H. M., E. R. Seiffert, M. E. Steiper & E. L. Simons. 2009. Fossil and molecular evidence constrain scenarios for the early evolutionary and biogeographic history of hystricognathous rodents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 106 (39): 16722–16727.

[W68] Wood, A. E. 1968. The African Oligocene Rodentia. Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, Bulletin 28: 23–105.

Last updated: 24 July 2018.

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